Kathleen Brooks bought her trusty VW Beetle in December 1966, Riverside, Calif – a beautiful 1967 model she quickly named Annie. Ever since that day, Annie has been Kathleen’s daily transportation, racking up more than 350,000 enjoyable miles over more than half a century. That’s enough to circle the globe a staggering 14 times, and Kathleen, now 73, still drives her beloved classic to work and back.
After hearing about Kathleen and Annie’s special relationship, Volkswagen specialists undertook an unusual project—offering to restore Annie to its former glory at the North American home of the Beetle in Mexico.
VW Beetle Restoration
The 11-month restoration project was undertaken by a skilled and experienced team of 60 Volkswagen employees and trainees who carefully stripped and restored ‘Annie’ to her former glory with some additional and subtle luxuries to celebrate Kathleen’s dedication. Kathleen and Annie were reunited, where she met key members of the Volkswagen team that led the complex restoration.
Kathleen Brooks was given the surprise of her life when the trusty VW Beetle she drove daily for more than half a decade returned…
Read more about the car and its story:
Posted by Classic Car Curation on Saturday, 10 October 2020
We often hear stories of dedicated Volkswagen owners, but there was something special about Kathleen and Annie that we felt we needed to honour.
The original Beetle launched our business in the United States. This isn’t just a Beetle, it’s a member of her family, and after all the time our employees have spent with this special vehicle, we feel Annie is a part of our family as well.
A three-time breast cancer survivor herself, Kathleen works tirelessly with breast cancer patients and survivors to provide comfort and cosmetic care during their difficult treatment and recovery process.
For over five decades Annie was a constant conversation starter with Beetle fans and owners, but also always there for me. I’ve said many times she and I are so much alike because she’s old, she’s faced, she’s dinged, she’s dented, she’s rusted, but you know what? She keeps running. And as long as I take as good care of her as I can, she’s going to continue to run.
The classic VW Beetle was given a thorough inspection prior to the rebuild which unearthed some serious but common defects such as the floor pan deterioration, suspension issues, transmission and electrical challenges.
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Over the next 11 months, the Volkswagen team replaced approximately 40 per cent of the Beetle’s parts and restored an eye-watering 357 original pieces, down to recreating the stickers that Brooks had added to the body and windows over the years.
To ensure an exact colour match was found, the team matched the original shade from the inside of the glovebox, sandblasted the body, then repaired with a mix of period-correct and updated parts before reassembly was undertaken.
Better Than Original
While retaining the integrity of the vehicle, several integral parts were given important safety upgrades including disc brakes added to later Beetles produced in Mexico, AM/FM/Bluetooth stereo designed to encapsulate the look and feel of the original Beetle sound system.
Other additional repairs included wiring replacement, transmission rebuilt, suspension upgraded and a complete engine strip-down/update and rebuild. Even the threadbare seats received a special touch, with ‘Kathleen’ and ‘Annie’ tactfully embroidered in a classic VW font over new leather. Bringing the car firmly into the modern era, the toolkit and jack were painted in deep-sea teal metallic, the colour of the 2018 Beetle Coast edition.
The goal, says project manager and mechatronics engineer Augusto Zamudio, was not to create a museum quality Beetle but to bring Annie back to a state where Kathleen could drive and enjoy her for many more years to come.
When Annie arrived, our team members quickly understood the connection Kathleen had with her car and embraced this project wholeheartedly. Restoring this car posed a number of challenges, but also provided a demonstration of the dedication we put into every Volkswagen we build.
Volkswagen Beetle – Restoration Gallery
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